Suspended lecturer should be reinstated
The community college administration needs to exonerate lecturer Daniel Petersen. Too often the feud between faculty and administration can be compared to a bad hostage movie. You know the one where the FBI walks in and tells the local police that this is their jurisdiction, and the battle ensues. Petersen's use of profanity was taken out of context. When Timmothy Jahraus complained, the community college should not have ducked, turned tail, and run—they should have stood their ground and supported veteran lecturer Daniel Petersen.
Chancellor Designee Karen C. Lee stated that Petersen's posting of the Timothy Jahraus letter on his website "violates multiple university policies on use of information technology resources, protection of sensitive information, and campus and system ethics codes for faculty." Well, it looks like she found a damn loophole.
All of this policy circles back around to the bigger picture. The community college fears that Petersen violated the Family Education and Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA). They have failed to prove in court that his actions actually violate FERPA.
FERPA was enacted to require educational institutions to provide academic records to students and their guardians. It also stipulates that educational records should be kept confidential. By identifying the posting of the doctor's letter for public scrutiny on a university-maintained website as a violation of FERPA is a gross interpretation of the law. Hell, it's downright abuse of the law.
Daniel Petersen is one of the most engaging lecturers the community college has. His suspension next semester makes it a little bit colder and bleaker for students to return to classes. It looks like the rainy season is going to continue all the way through May.
-From Ke Kalahea's Editoral Board
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